Gaza-based terrorists fired some 45 projectiles, including Grad rockets and mortar shells, toward towns and cities in southern and central Israel on Saturday evening and Sunday morning forcing thousands to flee for shelters.
One rocket hit a school, setting the building ablaze; others landed in the courtyards of apartment blocks in Ashdod, a city of 250,000 people. Another landed on a home in Ashkelon.
“We are all freaked out, staying near a shelter, and knowing we are likely in for a rough ride,” said Terri Millstone, a language teacher in Ashdod who emigrated from Canada.
Medics took several people to regional hospitals following the strikes. Dozens more were treated for shock.
The Israeli army issued a directive canceling all large gatherings within a 25 mile radius of Gaza. All schools within that range remained closed on Sunday, the first day of the school week in Israel.
There has been an increase in rocket activity from Gaza since the Middle East Quartet attempted to reboot Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on Wednesday (Oct. 26).
Most of the rockets, including 122mm Grads, were fired by Islamic Jihad, which is funded and armed by Iran.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks on Israel that emanate from Gaza. Hamas, another Iranian proxy, has controlled Gaza for more than four years.
Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are committed to Israel’s destruction.
“Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence,” Islamic Jihad’s leader Ramadan Shalah said this time last year.